11 December 2011

The UK, the EU and the Great British Public

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron has received overwhelming support from British voters over his historic decision to veto changes to the EU Treaty. According to a recent poll

The first poll conducted since the acrimonious Brussels summit shows that a total of 62 per cent of people agreed with the Prime Minister’s defiant stance against the EU last week, with just 19 per cent against.

On many occasions I have tried to explain to people that although there are a few countries looking towards EU membership, there is one country that would probably consider leaving the EU.

The great British public consider the EU to be a vast ‘talking shop’ or some would refer to it as a great big ‘gravy train’. The EU is seen as a vast bureaucratic organisation that spends far too much time inventing new laws that try to replace the local laws of EU member countries.

It would appear that if a referendum were to be held on continuing the UK membership of the EU, the British public would vote to leave the EU as quickly as possible.

The EEC (European Economic Community), as the EU was previously known was always seen as an opportunity for the UK to do business with a market of 500 million people. They did not anticipate that so many rules and regulations effecting everyday British life imposed by the EU.

It could be argued that we British are our own worst enemies when it comes to following rules and regulations. Whenever new EU laws/regulations etc are introduced, the UK is seen as one of the few countries that will follow them word for word and make sure they are implemented….well because that is the law. British people visiting other EU member countries then witness how most of the other member countries tend to ignore most of the laws/rules and just continue to do their own thing. Visit Greece or Malta or Spain if you want to see how ‘Health and Safety Regulations’ are completely ignored.

Moreover, British citizens do not see any real benefits from the UK being a member of the EU. Many will be quick to complain that EU membership has brought too many changes to British life including a flood of EU immigrants to the UK. A story in the British national media last week only re-enforced this fear when it was reported that one well know British company in England was encouraging its managers to learn Polish so that they could communicate with its employees, the majority of which are Polish citizens.

Not all agree with Prime Minister Cameron. Some think that the UK could be making a big mistake by playing the veto card. We will see.

1 comment:

Derek Mansfield said...

I am still in two (or seven) minds about this.
All that you say is true Gerald, especially that most Brits like the idea of trade without borders.
But the PM said he played the veto to protect the City and it's important tax contributions.
He quoted a figure of £62bn tax paid by the City and it's institutions.
In 2008 the Nation paid taxes of £600bn, so with respect to the PM the City contributes very little.
Moreover the Bankers and the very rich don't pay taxes at anywhere near the level of the remaining 99%.
The whole veto was so that the City didn't have to pay transaction tax that would have been Europe wide. That tax would have gone to shoring up the banks and relieving the poor beknighted tax payer.
It seems to me the PM's veto protected those with investments in financial products - something our European cousins don't see as a high priority.
If the UK got rid of a chunk of the financial services industry then investors might invest in something a little more meaningful like high end engineering or product design and manufacture which would create more jobs and a sounder economic base over time.
Fortunately for me there is nothing I can do about any of this so having had this rant I will get on attend to my own business.
Thank you for the rant space :)
Derek Mansfield